The Son Tay Citadel

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03 November 2007 (Vietnam Net Bridge) – Built in 1822, the Son Tay Citadel stood guard over the western gate to what is now known as Hanoi. This travel piece takes a walk through the citadel, which seems to have been unfortunately badly restored.

Vietnam Net Bridge, 03 Nov 2007

All quiet on the western front

In my mind I had pictured Son Tay town as a sleeping beauty in amongst the hundreds of craft villages of Ha Tay province. I became determined to discover the region’s “hidden charm” and cajoled my uncle into tagging along.

After we arrive, at first, we just amble along the town’s older streets. Everywhere the houses seem small and tidy, the people seem good-natured and the town as a whole seems quaint and tranquil.

When I arrive at the moat that surrounds the ancient citadel we’re given the option of rowing across in a small bamboo boat, though we choose to stroll across the bridge.

Son Tay ancient citadel was built by King Minh Mang in 1822 to defend the western gateway to the city of Thang Long, which is now, of course, Hanoi.

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Historic Melaka digs way into more of its past

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07 June 2007 (Travel Video Television News) – While this news piece reports nothing new, it ties up the restoration of the fort in Malacca with tourism and the bid to list Malacca as a world heritage site.

Historic Melaka digs way into more of its past

The Malaysian government is setting its focus on Melaka’s treasures.

Malaysia’s historic state Melaka is digging its way into its past to uncover more artifacts buried since the Portuguese landed in the then world sea port trading post in the 16th century.

The unexpected discovery of a fort’s remnants dating back to the 15th century is expected to enhance historic Melaka’s listing as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

Read more about Malacca’s place in the Malaysian plan for tourism and heritage.

Malaysian Heritage minister talks about restoration of Malacca fort

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03 June 2007 (New Straits Times) – Dr Rais Yatim, the Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister of Malaysia in an interview with the New Straits Times about the restoration of the Malacca Fort.

It takes time to get the job done

The man behind the National Heritage Act 2005 has embarked on a multi-million ringgit plan to restore the Malacca Fort. Culture, Arts and Heritage Minister Datuk Seri Dr Rais Yatim speaks to TAN CHOE CHOE about the project and other topics close to his heart

Q: Recently, you announced that the cabinet had approved RM12.8 million for the reconstruction of the Malacca Fort. What is the objective behind this project?

A: Malacca is where our civilisation began, so anything that we can find via the window of heritage there is important. The fort shows that we have lived through some colonial periods and like most countries, we have survived well.

Some people don’t like to mention our history of colonialism but to me, the occupations of the Portuguese, the Dutch, the British and the Japanese have taught us something. We didn’t simply explode and come into being. Our history and heritage are a salutary lesson in nationhood and a reminder to strengthen our resolve to build a better future.

Read the full interview with Dr Rais Yatim here.

Prambanan Temples still not yet recovered from last year's earthquake

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25 May 2007 (Antara) – UNESCO says that the Prambanan Temples of Java, damaged during the 2006 earthquake, will need at least another five years and some 6 million dollars for restoration.

Quake-hit Indonesian temples need years of repairs

Damage to one of Indonesia’s most spectacular temple complexes caused by last year’s devastating Java earthquake was so extensive that repairs will take at least five years, UNESCO says.

Some of the temples at Prambanan are threatening to topple and restoration of the entire Hindu compound, the largest in the country, will be slow and difficult, according to the UN culture agency.

Repairs are expected to start later this year. Experts from UNESCO, the Indonesian government and other agencies have spent 12 months conducting extensive damage assessments, and devising an action plan.

Gurung said a big concern was the depth of cracks in the temples, which may have severely weakened their structure.

“When you look at the physical damage, falling stones, falling pinnacles, broken stones, we can place them back. But the serious part is the internal structural cracks, we don’t know how deep (they are),” she said.

“Some temples have inclined, they are tilting,” she added.

Read more about the restoration work on the Prambanan Temples.

Books on the Prambanan Temples include:
Prambanan by Jhonny S.

Angkor revamp: India's loss, China's gain

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28 January 2007 (The Times of India)

Angkor revamp: India’s loss, China’s gain

China and Japan are in a race to grab a larger portion of the restoration work at Angkor Wat, the 12th century Hindu temple in Cambodia.

These well-intended moves also highlight India’s inability to make the most of an opportunity to build on age-old cultural ties with Cambodia and be seen as an influential friend in the region, sources said.

The Cambodian government and the Unesco are considering an offer from Beijing to fully restore the 900-year-old Chou Say temple, one of the shrines in the sprawling temple complex built by the Chola dynasty.

The project would cost just $1.86 million to the Chinese but it would open the doors for bagging contracts for larger archaeological sites in the complex.


Related Books:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese
Southeast Asia: From Prehistory to History by P. S. Bellwood and I. Glover (Eds)
Khmer Sculpture and the Angkor Civilization by M. Giteau

Thailand offers to rebuild Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan

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18 June 2006 (MCOT News) – Thailand offers to rebuild the Bamiyan Buddha statues that were destroyed by the Taliban regime. Thailand is a predominantly Buddhist state.

Thailand offers to rebuild Bamiyan Buddha statues in Afghanistan

Thai Prime Minister Thaksin Shinawatra offered to reconstruct the ancient world heritage Buddha statues destroyed by Afghanistan’s former Taleban regime in 2001.

The former Afghan Islamic fundamentalist regime dynamited and used artillery to deface and destroy the priceless twin Buddha statues, carved into the heart of the Hindu Kush mountains in Bamiyan, claiming that all statues are idols and therefore their existence was contrary to Islamic belief.

Part of ancient Cambodian temple opens to public as restoration drags on

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16 July 2006 (Canoe) – More news on the reopening of the partially-restored Baphuon temple.

Part of ancient Cambodian temple opens to public as restoration drags on

An initial attempt to refurbish the monument, one of the oldest and largest temples at the famed Angkor complex, started in 1960, but work stopped a decade later as Cambodia slid into a long civil war, and during the Khmer Rouge regime all the reconstruction plans were destroyed.

Work resumed 11 years ago and, now, for the first time, one section – known as the eastern pavilion – has opened to the public. A team of French archaeologists, funded by the French government, hopes to complete the $5.7-million US project in 2009

Categories: Angkor Cambodia

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UNESCO to help rehabilitate temples damaged by quake

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7 June 2006 (Antara News)

UNESCO to help rehabilitate temples damaged by quake

The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation has expressed its pledge to help fund rehabilitation of several ancient temples damaged in a massive earthquake hitting Yogyakarta and Central Java last May 27.


Related Books:
Prambanan by S. Jhonny
Prambanan by Ariswari

Cambodia's Baphuon emerges piece-by-piece

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18 May 2006 (IOL) – Another piece on the restoration of Baphuon in Cambodia.

Cambodia’s Baphuon emerges piece-by-piece

Visitors can view a 300-meter section of the temple’s eastern face, as well as walk around the perimeter to watch the reconstruction of a 70-meter-long reclining Buddha that was built onto Baphuon’s lowest terrace several hundred years after the 11th-century temple was constructed…

The most pressing problem at the start of Royere’s quest was the missing plans for fitting the temple back together. But working in Royere’s favour was a large archive of photographs of Baphuon dating back to the early 20th century.

Using these visual records and the surviving portions of facade as a template, Royere was able to determine where the stones scattered about the jungle should go. Workers would walk through the vast “stone field” looking for the block with the right shape, size or ornamentation.


Related Books:
Angkor Cities and Temples by C. Jaques
Angkor: A Tour of the Monuments by T. Zephir and L. Invernizzi
Angkor: Cambodia’s Wondrous Khmer Temples, Fifth Edition (Odyssey Illustrated Guide) by D. Rooney
The Treasures of Angkor: Cultural Travel Guide (Rizzoli Art Guide) by M. Albanese

Categories: Angkor Cambodia

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